We're back!

Last week, a bit late in the game, we realized that this would be our very last week before M. starts business school again. Translated, that means that this would be his last consecutive stretch of days off that we would have free to take a trip, should we be so inclined. After China, he has no vacation time left for the year! It was also likely to be the last of the summer weather in the highcountry, and we had yet to show our beloved mountains to our daughter. So it was that, early Monday morning, we found ourselves packing the car for a mini-vacation.
Packing...and packing...and packing...
One of the things that had not occurred to me was how very different it would be trying to organize and pack for a trip with a toddler in tow...

M. and I are both seasoned travelers. We can pack for a camping trip with our eyes closed. We no longer need to make lists, double and triple check. We've pretty much got it dialed. But with a baby? Yah. Whole different kettle of fish.
By the way, of the above pile of bags, three are Flynn's, one is mine. How is it possible that someone so tiny could need so...much....stuff??
And this is us packing very, very light for the four-day vacation, because we had to fit both dogs in the car, plus Flynn's pack and play, because there's no crib up at the mountain place.

So, needless to say, it took us quite a bit longer than usual to get ready. While we organized the car, Mike set Flynn on the lawn and told the dogs to watch her.

Which they did, faithfully. You've gottta love dogs.

Is it me, or is she quite simply the cutest thing on the face of the earth? That skin. Those eyes! The tiny bow of her bottom lip. The curl of her little tongue just kills me when she grins! Those long, delicate fingers and toes, and perfect little ears. I look at that face, and I think, how could she be any more perfect? And then she smiles at me...and I just melt into a puddle.
She is honestly the most perfect and absolute miracle I've ever seen with my own eyes.

A dog on either side...well-guarded.

M did a terrific job of packing the car.

We thought it was going to be a lot tighter than this. Plenty of room for the dogs! Whoever invented a pack and play deserves a medal.

First stop on our mini-vacation: M's sister's house in Highlands Ranch for a family barbecue.

Lisa and one of her twins...they're growing so fast! I know it's a cliche, but I'm amazed every time I see them. I was looking at our China blog yesterday and realizing how much Flynn has also grown in the past three weeks since our return. Even though she still looks tiny to me (no, I have not been doing a good job of measuring her growth) she looks so much smaller and, I don't know, "baby-ish" in the China photos than she does now.

Here she is expressing her distaste for a bacon-wrapped scallop. "You're not planning on eating that, are you?"

Cousin Victoria looking after one of her little brothers. She's so solicitous with them - I love how she has evolved as a big sister. She's such a great kid. I'm also impressed with how well she is handling her loss of "the spotlight". Only a few years ago she was the one and only...the doted-on one, the center of everyone's attention. And then, the babies started coming thick and fast: Harrison, Isacah, the twins, and now Flynn and little Holland...all in the course of about four years. That's a lot of family! She has really handled it with a lot of grace...and I don't think that's the easiest thing to do at her age.

Sam discovered that the twins could potentially turn out to be a bountiful source of crackers. What he hadn't bargained for was their coyness. It seemed as if they were willing to share...but the reality was a bit different. Turns out, they're a couple of little teases. Poor, trusting Sam had to exercise a great deal of patience during the course of the afternoon. He, too, handled himself with a great deal of grace.

M trying to convince Victoria to try a baked scallop.

One of the twins had been flirting with me all afternoon...peeking out from behind furniture, batting his big hazel eyes at me, and then dashing away again the minute I smiled at him. Only to appear again from behind something else. Finally, I just scooped him up. I think he was rather alarmed to have been captured!

Son, mother and granddaughter. What a wonderful little tableau.

M making sure Victoria got her share of hugs.

Sam, who is used to being at the center of everything, was not at all happy about being locked out of the barbecue. Here he is bargaining to be let back in.

M, V and F composing music.

The twins always seem to be on the wrong side of the baby gate. I think it's a "grass is greener" sort of scenario. They stare pitifully through the bars like little, starving inmates until some kindly sucker lets them through. Once on the "right side", it only takes them a few minutes to realize that the other side was really the place to be.

NaiNai helping Flynn with her walking practice.

M, always the beloved uncle, knows how to tickle a nephew's funny bone.

The afternoon winding down, we headed for the hills to continue our vacation.


Melissa said...

Yeah! I needed my Flynn fix.

Yoli said...

Oh Maia, she looks precious! She is perfect and so beautiful. Oh why did you post that photo of Sam! I am here feeling so sorry for him! NO one puts Sam in the corner!

Cavatica said...

Looks wonderful!

Maia said...

Ah, there you are!

What I love reading most right now is just how IN LOVE you are with your exquisite girl. It warms my heart!

Vivian M said...

How wonderful you were able to fit in some family and trip time before school started again!

fourlittlehawks said...

Oh Sam, those eyes! Stop It!

I'll have to send you some steak and crackers if I'm ever going to get that heart rending image out of my mind! What cruel little twins - wrapped in such darling, benign looking packages even!

Jen Hawkins